It's All About The Eggs...
The best part was definitely the chocolate bunny... but I couldn’t tell you one detail about any bunny that ever graced my Easter basket. The eggs however... now that’s different story...
Easter and Christmas were big holidays in my family growing up; not because Baby Jesus was front and center in our lives, but because both celebrations held massive decorating opportunity, and Mom was all about DIY and crafting. She was (and still is) an artsy woman who loved anything that could be recreated in miniature.
Several weeks before Ham Sunday, Mom would put the newspaper down and set up the color stations... little bowls filled with food dye and vinegar. Mom could create awesome color combinations ... unlimited pastel hues and tones. Without intervention from the master, the result for us kids was mostly shades of brown... Crayola “burnt sienna”...
Before dying, we’d split the eggs into two groups; one for hard boiling, the other for blowing. Group #1 was kid-friendly - dip, dunk, and swirl. Group #2 was reserved for the artist... a clean pin-prick at each end of the egg and Mom would masterfully blow the insides out... the whites first with relative ease, and then, like a mother giving birth, the thick yellow yolk would squeeeeze through that tiny pinhole and dribble into the bowl... a dye-defying feat that Mom managed with ease. Perforation perfection.
Despite knowing it would end in tears, she always let me blow an egg – sometimes resulting in a small victory with a tiny hole at either end. Holding gently between thumbs and forefingers, I’d give a “slow even blow” (per Mom). With puffed cheeks, veined forehead, and popped eyeballs, the egg would burst and frustration would ensue... (Many a tear was shed at the egg table...)
Every once in a while, I’d score a modified victory by chipping away at a hole big enough for the insides to just plop into the bowl. Somewhere along the line, Mom started prepping the blow-holes with clear nail polish - a game changer.
Full of self-pride for eliminating the insides and dunking that one little sucker in burnt sienna, I could sit back, eat the hard-boiled eggs, and watch the master at work. Going far beyond basic dying, Mom would carefully carve out a 1.5 x 2 portal in the front of each barren egg (a feat never attempted by myself).
She could then engage her full-on crafting expertise. Mom’s supplies included cotton balls, teeny plastic lambs, trees, Easter baskets and bunnies.... fingernail scissors, tweezers, clear nail polish, Saran wrap, zigzag hem tape, velvet ribbon, tiny pearls (for the bases), and Elmer's glue.
Mom’s laser focus, sharp eyes and steady hands would yield exquisite results; expertly created mini-masterpieces worthy of Faberge... teeny Norman Rockwell scenes showing happy lambs and bunnies hunting for eggs under billowing fields of cotton and shady trees... sweet enough to make Baby Jesus smile.
I loved those eggs and looked forward to seeing them each year... I could imagine myself living among the lambs and bunnies in the soft and gentle world created by Mom... everything safe and protected.
With age, I came to understand that Mom’s eggs were a precursor for the candy-toting Easter Bunny... that within a few short days, I’d be eating chocolate bunnies and having a family dinner in the dining room with ham and scalloped potatoes... still one of my favorites, and something I’ve carried forward with my own family.
Today is Easter Sunday. Sadly, Mom is spending it in a local nursing home, temporarily rehabbing from a recent fall. I’ll take some time to hunt for Mom’s beautiful Easter eggs in her attic. No doubt, covered in dust and missing pearls, seeing her carefully crafted eggs will stir fond memories for her as they’ve done for me, and surely bring a smile to her face.